Projecturf Goes Mobile!

January 21, 2014

Shortly after the release of Projecturf 4 in mid 2013, we shifted all gears to mobile since that was the most critical missing component to successfully manage your projects. This would be the first mobile version Projecturf has ever released and we knew it needed to be built with the same TLC that's deployed with all releases. This meant designing and building it from scratch with no stones left unturned in order to give you an experience you would truly enjoy, day in and day out, while using Projecturf from various different devices.

Why mobile version vs. native?

With that being said, there were some important decisions that needed to be made before beginning development. When deciding between building native apps for your specific device and a mobile version that can be used on any device, we chose the latter for several reasons. The first being that having a mobile version doesn't alienate any of our customers based on their type of phone or tablet. We discussed using a packaged mobile app solution to deploy apps for individual devices such as the iPhone, but given the complexities behind the Projecturf app and the technology, this was not a viable solution. If we were to build native apps for each device, each native app would need to be built, tested, and released before the next one. Additionally, development would take much longer and when making any changes, updates, or fixes, they would all need to be built and deployed separately. This would potentially lead to an inefficient and slow process that derail other important aspects of development. Since we already had a team in-house that knew how to build and deploy a full functional mobile version and we wouldn't need to spend additional time bringing everyone up to speed on native development, building a mobile version that will work across all devices made the most sense. When an update is posted to the mobile version, everyone on Projecturf will get that update immediately. Bottom line is we didn't see any clear advantage to having a native app vs a mobile app for our customers; in fact, it was actually the opposite. The Projecturf mobile version is available from every mobile and tablet browser.

The new Projecturf mobile app

Enough said about that, now let's get into the exciting part. The mobile version is now live and available to all users! It provides a lot of the same functionality you'll find in the web version, but it is a slimmed down version to give you the functionality you need on the go. All the screens are newly designed and the app was built using jQuery mobile to provide a fast and efficient experience. You'll find the design very similar to other mobile apps you are familiar with such as Facebook. This eliminates any learning curves and makes using Projecturf mobile simple and easy.

To access the mobile version, simply go to your custom login page or to app.projecturf.com from your mobile phone or tablet. You will be redirected to the mobile version. Click the icon on the top left and the page will slide to the right and you will see the full navigation:

mobile-version-slide-page

To view a project or a section, simply click on it from the navigation and you will see the list of items for that section. To see all items, simply scroll down. You can also use filters and then click on an item to see the details. Editing, making changes, adding comments, etc. is all done from the details screen (sidebar in the web version) as shown here:

commenting-mobile

This gives you full control and visibility into all aspects of your projects when you are not in front of your computer screen. You can also quickly add project and personal items by using the plus button from any section. I've included a screenshot here from the Tasks section as an example:

add-tasks-mobile-version

Once you start using the Projecturf mobile app, you'll see all the instant capabilities that are available. It's a great tool and we hope you enjoy using it!

Quick tip: create iPhone app icon

It's simple to add your Projecturf app as an app icon on your iPhone. Here's an example using Safari. Simply open up the mobile version on your phone and click on the share icon at the bottom of the page. You will get an option that says 'Add to Home Screen' as shown here:

iphone-home-screen

Once you click to add it to your home screen, you can give it a name and then click Add on the top right. The Projecturf icon will now appear on your iPhone with all your other apps!

add-iphone-icon

Quick tip: switch between desktop and mobile site

To switch back to your desktop version, click on your photo at the top of the screen and select Desktop version. From the desktop version, click on your photo and select Mobile site. If you don't get redirected the first time, simply clear your cache and this will fix the issue.

desktop-version-mobile-version

Instant Project Search, Design Updates, and More

August 19, 2013

We just published several enhancements to Projecturf 4 to make managing your projects easier. Here's a list of the new updates:

Search projects

For users who have tons of projects, finding them quickly is important. So, instead of scrolling to find a project in the projects bar, we've just added the ability to find a project instantly by filtering as you type. To find a project, click on PROJECTS to the right of the magnifying glass in the nav bar. Once you've clicked on PROJECTS, just start typing the project name. The results will immediately get filtered in your project list below.

projects-search-projecturf-4 search-results-projecturf-4

Calendar

We've updated the visual design of the calendar to make it more legible. We've added dots to events and color-coded the dots based on your chosen project colors. For all-day events that are highlighted, the colors have been lightened quite a bit so you can easily view and read the text. These improvements make the calendar much easier to read, especially when you have lots of events on the calendars.

calendar-web-app-projecturf-4

Design enhancements

We've made some slight visual changes to the interface by flattening the design. We have removed some gradients and shadows for a cleaner, more streamlined look that improves usability and increases speed.

French

We have added French to our list of languages that are supported in the app.

Updates page

As we previously mentioned when we launched Projecturf 4, you can expect frequent updates to Projecturf and we have a lot planned over the next couple months. You can follow our progress on twitter and learn about recent updates on our new Updates page.

Projecturf 4 Webinar

August 13, 2013

Below is a tutorial video showing you how to get started using your new Projecturf 4 account. This video includes an overview of workspaces, how to use the My Contacts section and My Stuff area, adding and setting up projects, using the tasks section, using the Global projects view, and much more. This webinar will come in handy for admins and project managers as well as basic users.

Jumping Between Projects Made Simple

January 24, 2013

Since most of you are on a number of different projects at any given time, you are frequently accessing many of them throughout the day. Instead of going back to the Global Projects page each time you want to access another project, the most recent projects you've opened will automatically pin to the top of the screen for you to access with one simple click. The six most recent projects will stay pinned to the top of the screen as shown below and you can close them anytime. You can also simply rearrange your project tabs in the order that works best for you by using drag and drop.

project-management-planning-tabs

When clicking a tab to change the project, the new project will open to the same section you are currently in. This allows you to switch between projects without unnecessary clicks of going back to the section you are using. Another benefit of the project tabs is that you can click the settings icon on the current tab to quickly navigate to the project settings page. From there you can add new project team members, change the status of your project, add a budget, and much more. By pinning project tabs you can quickly access what you need in your project management software.

Faster Page Loading & Speed Enhancements

July 3, 2012 by Chuck

Last week, we rolled out a very large upgrade that primarily addresses the speed of Projecturf. I won't get into the nerdy details too much, but at a high level we moved from our dedicated server environment to a cloud-based one instead. We left our Oracle database on it's own dedicated server (as it was before), but now both the cloud servers and the database server are located in the same geographic location, which eliminated the latency we were experiencing before. After thorough testing, I'm happy to report that we're seeing page loading times drastically improved across the board, and in some instances, they have increased up to 20 times. However, the most important thing to you, the customer, is that as you hop around Projecturf from project-to-project or section-to-section to get things done, you will notice a significant difference in how fast things load.

If you would like to read more about this update, check out the press release.

I want to personally apologize for the week prior where we did have several maintenance periods and a few issues we tried to fix very quickly. Thank you for your patience. These updates make things much speedier, but also have addressed a few requests a lot of our customers have asked for on our suggestion forum. It also sets the table, sorta speak, for some bigger things coming later this year :)

Familiar UI elements

March 8, 2012 by Chuck

As designers, the details of every aspect of an interface are critical. Even the smallest change can affect how people use your product or website, so sweating the small stuff, as they say, takes on a whole new meaning in UI design. To illustrate this point, I'm going to discuss our thinking on where to place toggle arrows in the next version of Projecturf, which may, on the surface, appear to be a minor if not insignificant detail, but I would argue that it makes all the difference in the world.

In our initial design, we placed the toggle arrow on the inside (to the right) of the checkbox in the tasks section. The arrow allows you to expand and collapse the subtasks that are connected to the parent task, and if no subtasks exist, the arrow simply is not displayed. The mere presence of the arrow indicates that the task has additional items connected to it. The checkbox, in contrast, will exist on every single task on the screen, which allows you to mark the item complete. Given that the checkbox always exists, we initially thought it made sense to have it be the first item on the left. But after we started building the screen and testing it out, we realized this was a mistake that we had to fix.

Familiar UI elements toggle arrows

Something about its placement felt strange. This led to doing some research and we used a computer OS as the foundation of our decision. What we found was that both MAC and Windows placed the arrow to the outside of any additional elements, such as folders or icons. The arrow was always on the far left. When we flipped it's position in our design, it naturally felt odd. This resulted in us moving the arrow to the outside of all elements, whether it's a checkbox or an icon (as you'd find in Documents), and it now feels natural and easy. You no longer think about it; you just intuitively use it.

There is something to be said for familiarity when it comes to interface design. The simple fact that the user is already familiar with how toggling works because they use this functionality on computers already allows us to position our element in the same fashion; essentially eliminating confusion. If the user has to stop and think about something like a toggle arrow (either consciously or subconsciously), we've complicated the experience. Therefore, it's extremely important to consider how a user will inherently perceive the elements in your UI as you are designing them. This is the level of detail of superior interfaces, and that we constantly strive to achieve.

Projecturf speed improvements

February 17, 2012 by Chuck

This year is already well underway and it's been a very busy and hectic time at Projecturf. There are a few big ticket items that we're concentrating on and that currently have the majority of our focus. I want to share which items these are with you.

Early this year, some of you may have started to experience slower response times in our application. This slowness is a result of the growth in our user base and traffic, some hardware issues, and to a large extent, our database. We have been focused intensely on this issue and have made serious headway as of today. Our database has been upgraded to an enterprise-level Oracle database and the majority of our procedures have been completely rewritten from scratch. In our testing thus far, in some instances, we are seeing speed increases upwards of 20 times faster than the current application. This, obviously, is a drastic and very important update that we will be rolling out shortly.

This has, unfortunately, stalled our progress with a couple of other projects that are very important to me and our company. These projects include our iPhone app and our API. The good news, however, is that while we have been focusing on the new database, we have been essentially finishing the API at the same time. This does not mean that our API will roll out in conjunction with the speed update, but it does mean that it will be coming shortly afterwards. In addition, the database updates have allowed us to work in a single sign-on approach. This will give many of you the ability to use one email address to sign into Projecturf where you can then access all the various systems and client accounts you work in. This is another big update that I know many of you are waiting for. These two updates should drastically improve your work efficiency.

In short, our aim is to roll out the new speed improvements as soon as we can in the next few weeks and then follow that up with single sign-on ability. After that, we are going to publish the beta version of our API followed by our iPhone app. We are striving to have all these items for summer.

I also wanted to share with you a little bit about our evolution as a product. I will discuss this in more detail in future posts, but needless to say we have been working on the next generation of our app. We started this process last year and it is starting to really ramp up. It's a little too early to share screenshots or other details, but over the next couple of months I will be discussing it more here, on our blog. We have some very exciting things in the works.

There's a lot we're working on this year to make your Projecturf life better. Follow me on Twitter and check our blog often. I am going to start discussing some of the interface challenges and resolutions we work though on a regular basis and will be providing insights and hints as to what you can expect out of Projecturf 4.

Easily navigate the Projecturf Interface

September 15, 2011

The current Projecturf design and layout is the result of over a year spent in the lab refining every last detail with pixel-perfect precision and throughly testing each component. Projecturf was designed with the end user in mind to offer an intuitive and flexible project management software which is easy to navigate and customize, has practically no learning curve, significantly improves productivity, is aesthetically pleasing, and is enjoyable to use.

Here are some key components of the User Interface that differentiate Projecturf and make managing your projects simple:

  • The Global section stays pinned on the left side to easily access it at any time. By clicking the Global tab, you will see data across all your projects and remain in the same section you were previously viewing in your project. You can also click your logo on the top left at any time to enter the Projects page.
  • Global dashboard
  • Pin up to 6 different project tabs to quickly jump back and forth between your projects. Drag and drop project tabs into any order you prefer. The selected project tab will be highlighted and you can close project tabs by clicking the "x" button on the tab. Quickly enter the project settings by clicking on the settings icon on the open project tab.
  • project settings icons
  • Use the "+" button on top right of the main navigation bar to quickly add a new item from any page. The plus button is used in all project sections to add new data.
  • plus button add new items quickly
  • Action panels are used throughout the app in all the project sections for changing or removing data. This was designed for consistency across sections, ease of use, and to unclutter data rows with lots of icons.
  • new projecturf action panels
  • Each project section is easily identified by the custom icons at the top of the page. Simply click an icon to enter a project section. Sections and functionality can be turned off in the Project Settings page for any user or for all users on the project.
  • project section icons
  • Find any data quickly using the gray filter bar or click the magnifying glass to search the project or section. Most sections such as Tasks and Tickets are laid out as simple lists that can be sorted or filtered to instantly access your critical project information. You can also sort the data by using the column headings right above your data.
  • filtering bar under navigation
  • Projecturf is professional looking and fully customizable. You can set the background color, upload and crop your logo, set the navigation colors, create a unique subdomain, and also customize the colors for the Gantt charts and calendars.
  • custom colors project management
  • Projecturf deploys the latest web technologies such as jQuery and Ajax for a fast and efficient experience. To speed up your work, you can also use drag and drop to move and resize tasks and events on the calendar or the custom Gantt charts. Drag and drop is also utilized in other areas to make quick updates or changes. Contacts are dragged to create groups and project tabs can be moved quickly with drag and drop as well.

The UI is a top priority for us in order to create the best possible experience for our users. This results in a user-friendly and polished application which is easily adaptable into your workflow, without sacrificing features or functionality. Clients and employees will learn how to navigate and fully utilize Projecturf in minutes.

New Enhancement: Quickly Access Project Settings

July 11, 2011

We have added an enhancement that allows you to enter the project settings page with just one click. If you have a project open and need to make changes to the settings, simply click the icon on the right side of the project tab (as shown below). This will take you directly to the settings tab where you can add users, change permissions, set your project budgets, and more. This comes in handy when you need to make frequent changes to the project and easily navigate back and forth.

Project Settings Icon

You can also enter the settings page from the Projects page using the actions panel to the right of the project name. This enhancement was a direct result of your feedback. To vote on ideas or request new functionality, visit our suggestion forum here.

New Feature: Upload Vimeo and Youtube Videos for Inline Viewing

June 1, 2011

You can now share Vimeo and Youtube videos in Projecturf and watch them inline. By adding your videos to Projecturf you also have the options to set permissions, seek approvals, track versions, create discussions and gather feedback, add a title, and group your videos. You can easily do this right from the documents section on any project and we automatically convert the video for your users to watch it inline. Each video will have the custom video icon to quickly differentiate it from your other files as seen here:

Vimeo and YouTube videos

To add and share a Vimeo or Youtube video in your project management software, copy the URL from the address bar on the video webpage and paste it into the link field when adding a new document in Projecturf. This feature allows you to easily integrate with Vimeo and Youtube for sharing and viewing videos inline while utilizing all of Projecturf's capabilities. For step by step instructions, please visit our Support Center for this feature. This new enhancement was a direct result of feedback from our customers. To submit your ideas and vote on existing suggestions, click here.